If you are a parent or a guardian of a child who is legally required to be in a car seat when riding in a car, you might be wondering what you do with the car seat if you have been in a car accident. If the car seat looks damaged, it seems evident that it would need replacement, but is it that simple? The consequences of making the wrong decision are serious, as a faulty car seat can be the source of injury or even death for your child if you are involved in another accident, even if the accident is a minor one.
Do You Need to Replace Your Child’s Car Seat After a Car Accident?
Doing the “eyeball” test is not a good way to determine if your child’s car seat needs replacement if you’ve been in a car accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that parents replace their child safety seats after being involved in a moderate to severe crash to ensure a high level of crash protection for children on board. The only time the NHTSA suggests a car seat does not need automatic replacement is after a minor crash. Still, they do recommend that parents inspect the car seat to determine for themselves whether the car seat may need replacing.
The NHTSA defines a minor crash as meeting the following five criteria:
- There is no visible damage to the safety seat;
- The airbags (if present) did not deploy;
- There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants;
- The vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged; and
- It was possible to drive the vehicle away from the crash site.
What Do the Car Seat Manufacturers Say?
Some car seat manufacturers still require you to replace your car seat for any crash, whether or not it meets NHTSA’s criteria. Check the owner’s manual of your car seat and contact the car seat manufacturer directly if you have any questions or something is unclear. When in doubt, do not reuse your car seat after a crash.
Do You Still Need to Replace the Car Seat if Your Child Was Not in the Car?
Even if your child was not in the car seat at the time of the crash, you still need to replace the car seat if your car sustained more than minor damage. If the manufacturer says to replace the car seat, replace it regardless of whether the child was or was not in the car seat.
How to Find the Right Car Seat
- Learn about the four car seat types
- Follow NHTSA’s car seat recommendations based on your child’s age and size
- Find and compare car seats and ease-of-use-ratings using NHTSA’s Car Seat Finder
Will Your Insurance Company Replace Your Child’s Car Seat After a Car Crash?
Many insurance companies will reimburse you for the new car seats if you need to replace one after a car accident. You will likely need to buy the new car seat first and then provide the insurance company with a copy of the receipt to get reimbursed.
You are not required to replace the crashed car seat with the same model. For example, if your child was just about to outgrow his infant seat, you could replace the infant seat with a convertible seat.
What Do You Do With the Crashed Seat After You Replace It?
Due to the growing need to recycle child car seats, some businesses will now properly recycle the car seat for you. One such business is Car Seat Recycling though there are others. You might also have a couple of options depending on where you live in Florida. Some cities have recycling programs for car seats, and in the past, retailers such as Target and Walmart sponsored car seat recycling programs. But if you cannot find a place to recycle your car seat, you’ll need to dispose of it yourself. Be sure to render the car seat unusable so that someone else cannot take the car seat and reuse it.
Car Accident Lawyer Josh Jones Can Help
If you are wondering how to move forward after a car crash, legal help is available. We are here to answer your questions. For example, you may have questions about whether or not your child’s car seat needs replacement after the car accident. At Josh Jones Law, P.A., we strive to help everyday people like you following your car accident. We not only care about your case, but we also care about the community. Representing you in a personal injury lawsuit can help us keep our Miami community safe and prevent future accidents.
Our mission is to help people, especially from underserved communities, understand and fight for their rights. At Josh Jones Law, P.A., we’re ready to help our neighbors in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Gardens, Miramar, Lauderhill, North Miami, Hollywood, and Homestead communities. To learn more, download a copy of our complimentary Personal Injury Toolkit.
If you’re looking for a car accident lawyer for personal injury to represent you if you’ve been in a car accident or to answer any questions you might have, we can help. Contact our Josh Jones Law, P.A. team today in Miami, Florida, at (305) 677-8846 to speak with an experienced attorney at our law firm or fill out our online form.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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